Update 19 – May 2024

What wonderful weather we are enjoying this month. On May 4th, thousands turned up for our City of Rochester Clean Sweep. We had 7 clean sweep teams in our neighborhood – it was a fun day as you can see from the smiles!

Tomorrow (Saturday May 11th) the Arnett Block Club, R Community Bikes and His Branches will be co-sponsoring a free Fix Your Bike Clinic! (flyer enclosed) It will be held in the parking lot at 340 Arnett Blvd., from 1-3pm. 20 rehabbed bikes and helmets will be raffled off to kids without bikes. We live in a great community!

The 19th Ward Community Association will be hosting volunteers from Paychex on May 23rd for the United Way Day of Caring . They will be helping at the Ravenwood and Chili Peace gardens.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. According to Lifespan “Recognition and education are important ways to remove the stigma associated with mental illness. Mental Health Awareness Month creates a time and space to start a conversation. Talking openly about mental health can reduce the misconceptions and stigma, and can encourage those who are suffering to seek help and find a support network.” https://www.lifespan.org/lifespan-living

The 19WCA Annual Square Fair 2024 will be held June 1st in Aberdeen Square Park! We still have open spots for Parade participants, vendors and volunteers for this fun family event! Some of the highlights of Square Fair is Dr. Eva Thomas, Principal of Dr. Walter Cooper School #10 is our Parade Grand Marshall, special performance by the Ignite Reggae Band, our Peter Evans Children’s Zone returns with the mechanical bull and of course our famous Pancake Breakfast begins at 8:30am. Mark your calendars so you don’t miss Square Fair 2024 “Together We Are One”.

Check out photos from last year’s Square Fair! https://lashayharris0.smugmug.com/2023-19WCA-Annual-Square-Fair-

Thank you for your continued support of the 19th Ward Community Association!

Be Safe. Stay Healthy. Be Kind.

Josie McClary

President, 19th Ward Community Association


In Memoriam

The 19th Ward Community mourns the loss of Jacob Adams – our long time friend and former alternate delegate of District 10. He was a strong advocate for the 19WCA having served on the Finance Committee, Chair of the Nominating Committee and always offering his support where needed.  Our prayers are with Heather, his family and friends. Following is the obituary posted by Brighton Memorial Chapel, Inc.

Michael Jacob Adams passed away on April 27, 2024, at the age of 52. He is survived by his wife, parents, brothers, and many other beloved family and friends.

Jacob was the beloved husband of Heather, son of Leonard and Phyllis Adams, brother to David (Marci) and Bruce (Eve), brother-in-law to Stefanie (Sharon), and uncle to two nephews, Simon and Freddy, and three nieces, Hannah, Sasha, and Edie. Jacob was born in Chicago, raised in Deerfield, IL, and a proud resident of Rochester, NY.

Jacob will be remembered most especially for his smile, quick wit, and enduring optimism and empathy. He cherished family and friends, weaving strong connections wherever he went. He always put other people first, from advocating for many local and national causes, to being concerned with the well-being of his hospice team. After brushing snow off his car after a long day at work, he’d proceed to do the other cars around him as well.

With a spirited curiosity, Jacob enjoyed his passions. An avid railfan, Jacob loved being trackside and sharing train trips with family and friends all around the globe, including Canada, Switzerland, and Australia. He was always happy to try new foods and new dining experiences, and he was an ardent supporter of local businesses and artisans, whether volunteering at the neighborhood farm market, listening to folk and Celtic music, or seeing movies at the Little Theatre.

Jacob made an impact with so many, both personally and professionally. A childhood cancer survivor, Jacob devoted his research career to advancing knowledge about the long-term cardiovascular health effects of childhood cancer treatments, particularly radiation to the chest. He was an advocate for many causes including children, public health, passenger train service, and the 19th Ward community in Rochester, NY, where he and Heather lived for over 20 years.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations in Jacob’s honor to the American College of Preventive Medicine Jacob and Heather Adams Resident Scholarship Fund (www.acpm.org/), C.U.R.E. Childhood Cancer Association-Rochester (www.curekidscancer.com) or Temple B’rith Kodesh (www.tbk.org)

Rapids Cemetery

submitted by John Curran

The 19th Ward History and Archives group resumes its annual “second and fourth Sundays” community volunteerism to maintain the gardens and grounds at the 210 year-old pioneer Rapids Cemetery at 90 Congress Avenue off Genesee Street. Meet at the cemetery after 1:00pm until 3:30pm. Bring any perennials you can share.

Enjoy the chance to view the Spanish Bluebells, forget-me-nots, vinca, tulips and Solomon’s Seal before they fade. Walk the circuitous raspberry pathway system for a refreshing outdoor experience that culminates at the tranquil meditation garden with its bleeding-hearts and trillium in bloom. The hosta plants and day lilies there are off to a healthy start. The timing this weekend is perfect for our annual “garlic frolic” to harvest the invasive wild garlic.   

3rd Graders from the Genesee Community Charter School planted three dozen blueberry bush varieties at the Rapids Cemetery food garden recently which adds to our cultivated black cap raspberries food garden. Patty Love of Barefoot Edible Landscaping and Permaculture provided planning and logistical services. When they bloom in years to come they will supply St. Peter’s Kitchen at Bull’s Head. This is an educational proactive response to food security issues.

Annual Flower Sale

The annual Flower Sale in support of the The Thurston Road YMCA is in full swing,  Pre-ordered flowers are ready for pick up.  If you didn’t have a chance to order we have PLENTY of extra flowers ready to sell and take home immediately.  All of the funds support the YMCA Annual Campaign.  Please email Carol Kramer at ckramer355@gmail or call/text 585-749-1054 for more information on pick up times.

Rapids Cemetery

Students Compete for Scholarships at the Annual 19th Ward Spelling Bee

submitted by Douglas and Charlotte Giebel

The 19th Ward Community Association was pleased once again to collaborate with teachers and the members of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity of the University of Rochester to assist students in our neighborhood schools learn to spell. Members of the Community Association joined with students from the U of R’s Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity in conducting Spelling Bee practices at the Arnett Library on each Saturday morning from January, 2024 until the Bee was held on Saturday, 23 March 2024 at the university’s river campus.

The role of members of the 19th Ward Community Association Schools Committee included registration with the Scripps Spelling Bee; communication with the principals and teachers of Schools 10, 16, 19, 29 and the Wilson Foundation Academy and coordinating with the Rochester Area Community Foundation, which is providing funding. We also purchased tee-shirts, trophies, and gift cards, made name tags, and collaborated with the fraternity members who made all of the on-campus arrangements.

A celebratory pizza lunch at the fraternity house was provided for the children invited to participate and their proud families and teachers. This happy group then proceeded to Wegman’s Hall where the audience was welcomed to the campus by Assistant Dean Glenn Cerosaletti, Director of Community Outreach. Then they watched and wondered if they could match the mastery these students demonstrated of the challenging Scripps vocabulary lists.

Our hope is that this interest in words will strengthen these students for success in all areas of their learning in the future. The winners of each grade can look forward to receiving a $500 scholarship from the Rochester Area Community Foundation upon their admission to an accredited college or trade school.

Cub Scout Pack #1965

P1965 Pack Meeting is this coming Wednesday May 15, 6-7 PM at School 16 Cafeteria.  This a “joining night” as well as a great environmental program.

Street Managers

Arnett Library


Ask the Archivist

Q: Does the 19WCA Archive have a record of the neighborhood controversy that ensued when Rite Aid proposed to build at the corner of Thurston and Brooks?

A: Yes indeed. I pulled the folder and was intrigued, myself, to be reminded of the details, which I will summarize here. Do write a Letter to the Editor if you have thoughts or comments after reading this timeline of events from 1996. Did you know that October is American Archives Month? First celebrated in 2006, the idea is to highlight the important role that archives and archivists have in safekeeping important records of enduring value. Keep your questions coming for another article in October, if not before!


  • Neighbors Building Neighborhoods Sector 4 Action Plan is published highlighting the need for economic development. 19th Ward Community Association (19WCA) is committed to supporting the plan. The Action Plan acknowledges the importance of the chain stores to serve as anchors to the commercial area.

Jan, 1996

  • A management company approaches The City of Rochester Neighborhood Commercial Coordinator to indicate Rite Aid’s interest in expanding on Thurston Road. The City of Rochester responds noting that such a project would involve rezoning. A traffic study would need to be done. The issue of noise from a speakerphone at a drive-up pharmacy would need to be addressed. Preliminary designs for the entrance and exits to the parking lot would have to be reviewed.
  • Marsha Barry from City Zoning stated that “the project will be neighborhood driven. The 19th Ward Neighborhood Association is very strong and will have to support the project.”

July 17, 1996

  • 19WCA Executive Committee meets with developer Rinaldi Brothers.

Aug 1, 1996

  • 19th Ward Community Association (19WCA) President writes to Building & Zoning stating generally that the Executive Committee “was pleased that a significant private investment may be made on Thurston Road and that the residents of our area may have easier access to a drug store.”

Aug 15, 1996

  • 19WCA convenes a Neighborhood Meeting. From the minutes:
    • The Rite Aid Corporation proposes an 11,000 square foot store on the site of the Knights of Columbus building at the corner of Thurston and Brooks, replacing Rite Aid’s existing 6,000 square foot store at 603 Thurston. The house at 548 Brooks would be purchased and demolished.
    • Neighborhood concerns were voiced:
      • Increased traffic and noise at an already busy intersection.
      • Sale of 40-ounce beers—would Rite Aid consider eliminating?
      • Could entrances be chained to prevent night use by patrons of the bar and liquor store across the street?
      • Shifting of business along Thurston towards Brooks, which is a residential neighborhood.
      • Residents complain about the existing litter problem at Rite Aid’s 603 Thurston location.
      • What will happen if Rite Aid proposal is not accepted? K of C have made a decision to sell their building.
      • This intersection is a gateway to the city and its appearance is an important reflection of the values of this neighborhood.
      • Rite Aid should consider alternate sites. (Rite Aid responds that this is the only site in this area which meets their needs.)

Aug 18, 1996

  • A group of 75 city residents form the Brooks/Thurston Coalition opposed to the construction. They “seek to join forces with 19WCA over the issue.” The group felt Rite Aid would put many small Thurston Road businesses at risk.
  • 19th Ward residents are encouraged to attend City Planning Commission hearing on Sept 9.

Aug 20, 1996

  • Article about the issue appears in the Democrat & Chronicle. Headline: “Rite Aid proposal for store called “too much”.

Aug 22, 1996

  • After weighing all the concerns, the 19WCA communicates to the developer that they could not support the proposal.

Sept 2, 1996

  • In response to the Community Association’s non-support, the developer made significant changes to their proposal.
  • The neighborhood concerns were addressed in a revised plan:
    • Building would be relocated 48 feet from rear lot line.
    • Drive-thru would be relocated. New detailed site plan was included.
    • Rear parcels would be subdivided and transferred to adjacent homeowners.
    • Brooks Ave curb cut would be relocated 15 feet to the west.
    • A 28-foot landscaping buffer would be created between the building and the north lot line.
    • Cut-thru traffic would be discouraged via parking lane designs.
    • Lighting plan now included down-lighting so as not to spill into residential areas.
    • The building would be finished in brick and stucco in traditional style.
  • The following concessions were also included, but one has to ask, What was the enforcement mechanism? Did Rite Aid follow through?
    • Rite Aid met with City Crime Prevention and made a commitment to implement anti-crime and anti-loitering measures.
    • Rite Aid agreed to chain off entrance during closed store hours.
    • Rite Aid agreed to a restrictive covenant to eliminate future use as club or bar.
    • Rite Aid agreed to eliminate sale of 40-ounce beer bottles.
    • Rite Aid will join 19th Ward Business Association.
    • Rite Aid will assign a corporate representative to be a liaison with the neighborhood.

Sept 9, 1996

  • While finding the concessions commendable, the Brooks/Thurston Coalition found that the concessions were in “no way sufficient to compensate for the detriment to the Brooks/Thurston area that would result from a change to C-2 zoning in what is primarily a residential and light commercial area.”
  • “Residential preservation is emerging as a dominant issue in the Neighbors Building Neighborhoods (NBN) initiative; the proposed project would destabilize what is now a cohesive residential area.”
  •  “We question why, after a decade of doing business in the 19th Ward, Rite Aid had not already joined a community association. That they are seemingly now willing to do so suggests not so much an interest in our community as it does a cynical self-interest in appeasing residents and the 19WCA in order to get the project through.”

Sept 9, 1996

  • 19WCA Executive Committee votes to support the Rite Aid developer in the revised application, contingent on the list of concessions.


Committee Information

Reach out to our office manager if you would like to get involved.

Delegates Council

Delegates Council is currently meeting via Zoom the 2nd Thursday of each month NEW TIME! 6:30pm

Garden Committee

The Garden Committee is always looking for help in maintaining our neighborhood gardens.

Communications Committee, Kate Phillips, Chair

Housing Committee

The 19th Ward Housing Committee will be restarting soon. Our meetings generally last about an hour. A City representative from Buildings and Code Enforcement attends to work with us on specific properties, concerns/issues, code enforcement, etc. 

Schools Committee

The schools committee is continuing to meet and will keep us updated on the good work they’re doing.